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I played Altadena last Friday with a buddy. It was maybe the second time I've played there in recent months, prior to which I had stayed away for well over a year — a testament to my disenchantment given how convenient it is to me for casual rounds. What follows here is rendered moot by the fact they heavily punched and sanded the greens since Friday, but seeing how severe my most "recent" review was and not having posted the last couple of times out, I needed to do at least a quick update. Of note is the current absence of driving range access. A wind storm a few months back took down about six poles on the right side and it has been closed ever since, but I knew that when I booked the tee time. Overall the course itself has recovered from the desperate and partially bare dog track that sent me away. It has its usual stretches of thin and bare, usually extending out immediately in front of teeing areas, but the fairways are mostly green and playable. The greens were decent, firm and on the quick side with some bare patches only on the edges of the par-3 8th. Missed the bunkers entirely. Based on the review thread, I seem to be about the only GKer who ever plays the place but, for what its worth and once the greens recover, it is now good as a practice track at twilight rates which is usually the standard it maintains. I needed to find someplace on short notice and it was one of the few places that had tee times available, so as Carl would say, it's got dat going for it.

The length and layout made it a perfect walking course for nine holes for my buddy, and with no big expectations, it worked out well for us.
Late review #2 from my sister's visit was Sandpiper on 2/24. Cool, very clear conditions in which the mild starting breeze built to two clubs and died the last few holes to finish in calm. There have been recent reviews and this is consistent with them in that the overall conditions are very good right now with very fast, true, challenging greens. Of note, the bunkers tended towards the thinner/firmer side and there seem to be more extensive areas of rough that have been allowed to grow to an evil, ball-devouring length. The exception to a nice outing was some kind of work site (irrigation?) going on right in the middle of the par-5 fifth fairway. As one had to play around it, it was pretty disruptive — multiple workers, parked vehicles, fear of hitting one of them, etc. — but I'm pretty sure that was a one day (or less) thing. Otherwise, a beautiful course in good shape. Recommended.
Late review, my sister was visiting from out of town and OQ one of two rounds we played last week, this one on 2/22. It was a wild, cold day with strong winds and a mid-round shower, but we were prepared, layered and had rain gear. The couple we were paired with, not so much, and they bolted when the rain came on the 11th hole. Overall conditions were pretty good. No teeing issues, fairways in consistently good winter condition, rough varied from grass to wild areas but the green parts cut down a bit from last time I was here when it was really punishing. Bunkers here can be a problem but the ones I visited were in good shape with soft sand. Greens had some texture to them but seemed to run true at a quick but not too quick pace that was appropriate for the conditions. The only negatives were that the driving range was in need of a trim and they were out of cookies :-(. I admit I love this course. Recommended.
Too much time writing about our GK match there with Roarksown1 so I'm doing a complete cheat and refer you to his review earlier in the thread which is pretty much right on. Basically some Winter effect but with relatively few, select thinner areas. Overall in good shape, well kept with good greens. Bunkers were mostly clean but firm and occasionally moist — not the easiest to hit out of. Staff there always has a good attitude and nothing there to keep me from going back and happily playing it again.
Played Sandpiper on Friday 1/21 with a 12:30 tee off, joining a twosome. In short it was excellent for this time of year. Playing from the Silver tees, no issues as to adequate coverage and level start. Overall, the coverage on the fairways was pretty nice with few thin areas – perhaps a little surprisingly so. The rough here varies considerably. Some areas just a little longer than fairway and other areas you can easily lose a ball. There are some burrowing animal areas also, so definitely a mixed bag there. I was in one bunker and it was clean, firm (not hard) with the ball siting up on the surface. Like the rough, chipping and pitching areas around the green were generally good but could vary considerably at times from tight to thick growth. last time I was here many of the greens had some kind of back blight. That is long gone and the green were excellent – tight, firm with good coverage and fast.

Check in was fine, the cart girl came around a few times and the young guys I was playing with were good company although maybe a touch too relaxed. They were having a little competition and while it seemed that we did little or no waiting until the back nine, people were waiting on us frequently. That said, we got around in about 4.25 hrs so the pace was actually good and it was an incremental difference. Most outstanding beyond the course itself was that it was a perfect day for it. Cloudless, in the low 70's, a light breeze to start that died to perfectly still flags in the middle of the round, picking up a bit towards the last part of the round towards sunset. Visually just a breathtaking day. Nothing to steer anyone away from it and being Sandpiper, of course it is highly recommended.
Grabbed a 1:10 start as a single joining a twosome on Sunday, 1/16. We were sent out little early to an open fairway. Conditions overall were good for Winter. No real issues with the tee boxes — level with enough coverage, sometimes tighter than others. One historically bad tee is #2, but it was a pleasant discovery to find it had been refurbished with sod and was as good or better than most. Fairways had overall decent coverage, mostly on the tight and sometimes a little moist side. The rough proper here was playable without much penalty but a little further off and you are into the adventure that is DeBell — undergrowth, barrancas, steep hills and drop-offs. Saw some bunkers moist with a little standing water, but most were drier if not particularly fluffy. I actually had good results playing out of three of them, including an up-and-down for par, so there's that. Green side areas generally offered good lies for short game and the greens themselves were very clean, reasonably quick and ran true with slopes and contours to keep it interesting.

It was nice day to be out, warm for this time of year, a bit overcast through the middle holes, but golden light through sundown for the last few. Overall pace was good for a weekend, coming in under 4.5 hours. Saw the cart girl a few times. Shout out to the guys I was paired up, Alex and TJ, who were excellent company and I hope followed up on their threat to check out GK and are reading this. I've been reasonably consistent with my game lately but arrived too late to warm up and never really had my swing with me today. So, as usual, DeBell abused my scorecard and my self esteem. That said, I had little at stake and no big expectations, so I had a good time. Recommended.
Got out with Chuck (FirstFlightFX-101) on 1/12 as a twosome for a GK match at 11:45. I think this was my third outing here and I enjoy the general flow and contours of the layout. As to conditions, there was definitely a Winter element but it was still enjoyable. Teeing grounds were fine as to level and adequate coverage. The relative weak point would be the fairways on which, in addition to general tendency towards firm, thinner lies, there were areas hardpan and dirt — extensively on a couple of holes. There were areas of fuller lies but if you have issues with tight lies and take deeper divots, this may not be your course right now. That said, I have a shallower strike and mostly found my fairway lies acceptable and just played through it without much thought as I was focused on execution and my match. Chuck also seemed good with it although he had a couple of episodes in dirt areas on or just off fairway edges, so take it for what it's worth. Rough was rarely punitive and generally easy to play from. There is an abundance of trees lining most fairways and that is where the trouble lurked if you got off line. I missed the bunkers. Chuck was only in one but commented on the sand quality of it and played out well, so the limited experience there was very positive. The greens' surrounding rough was good for chipping, with the lead-up fairways and fringe fairly tight. I usually executed some form of putt at five or more feet from the green surface. The greens were in nice shape and fairly quick, frequently with some contour or slope to make it more interesting.

Check-in was smooth, got a senior break on my fee, found some good grass to hit from on the range and the putting green was quick. Just past a wind advisory window, it was a perfect, mid 70's temperature day, starting with minimal breeze and dying to pretty much still through most of the round. Pace was good overall, slowing towards the end of the front nine and beginning of the back, but good otherwise. Although we did not avail ourselves of her services, the service cart woman came around often enough, always with a smile. Less than perfect conditions but enough to recommend it as an overall experience, we enjoyed it.
Went out as single joining four other singles for a 1:50 start on Monday 1/3. Not having played over the holidays and feeling a bit unsure about my swing, nine at Roosevelt seemed like a nice way to ease into it for the new year. I wasn't disappointed, although with some qualifications. Most of the teeing grounds were forward of their normal positions, in a couple of cases because the main teeing area was chewed up for renovation while for others it just seemed the decision for the day. Given my mindset, I was fine with it. Fairways here can be a bit lumpy in spots but they are mostly fine with good, consistent, mown coverage. Rough was green and reasonably playable if you weren't off in the underbrush. Around the greens the run-up and surrounding areas were often tight (but green) for pitching and the rest varied from a little thicker to thinner. The greens took deep pitch marks but ran a brisk medium and were pretty clean. Never got into a bunker nor witnessed play from one, so little intel on those although they looked OK.

Overall I'd rate the conditions more than acceptable at the low end and good for the most part. But that doesn't do it justice. The weather was about as perfect as you could ask for as far as a California winter day. There are some great views peaking through at various point of the course as well as strollers, runners and bikers adjacent to some of the boundaries that make for interesting people watching while waiting on shots. Pace was sluggish at times but nobody seemed to care. The course itself has visual interest and wildlife. The group of singles of which I was a part were all sociable, pleasant company. My blowup holes were not pretty, but a majority of pars for the non-blowup holes left me feeling like I was doing enough things right and encouraged me for the next outing. It was a great place and time to be outside (on a golf course, no less) and a total experience that exceeded the sum of its not unpleasant parts. Quirky in spots, I think the course is a gem.
This will be short and a little late. Got out at BV as a single with another single on Friday 12/10 for the first time in a couple of years and while it wasn't Augusta perfect, it was muni perfect. No issues with teeing grounds, fairways were on the tight side with some rollout but soft, which seems like a contradiction but it was a nice base. Don't recall any brown, bare or burnt spots. Rough was green, pretty consistent and occasionally punitive. Bunkers were OK and mostly without impacting footprints. Short game areas presented the ball well and the greens were very nice — on the quick side, true and pretty clean with a minimum of marks. With the contours frequently presented, they were a very enjoyable challenge.

Pace was good on the front and started to slow and get a little backed up by the middle of the back nine. There was never a threat of losing light late in the round so no stress there. It was comfortably cool although warmer than I expected, and never more than maybe a one club breeze which is pretty mild given how breezy it can be there. The guy I played with was easy going and while I didn't shoot a particularly good score, I had my moments. It was just a really nice day out on a course in above average all around conditions. Definitely recommended.
Got out for a GK match with Dconnally Thursday. Tee'd off a half hour late on a busy day, paired with an elderly father and middle-aged son. Conditions overall were pretty nice. Teeing grounds were consistently level with suitable coverage. Fairways were green and well covered. I don't recall any brown or thin areas. The rough was tough — lush and usually demanding some kind of wedge or punch shot to get back to the fairway for an opportunity to resume your round from a better place. I thought the groomed areas around the green offered very nice opportunities for pitching/chipping. From my experience, the bunkers were the biggest surprise even though a mixed bag. Hard with crusty or simply missing sand has long been the norm here and an accepted trade-off for the rest of the course. But on this day, a lot of green side bunkers had abundant new sand. Not all, as I was also in one that was old-style firmer and a fairway bunker that was more like a compacted waste area. The greens were in good shape, rolling mostly true at a nice quick speed that wasn't overly spicy.

Teeing off at noon, it ended up being a five hour pace and we were among the last few groups to get 18 done as others were driving in from around the course. Minor issues were that the carts were nice and had GPS, but sometimes seemed to be working off an incorrect pin location. There are no longer any monuments or yardage makers to be found and as one who prefers to pace off yardages, I missed having the option. But you have to take a cart there and they have GPS so it is what it is and me being fussy. One also has to be very careful about no-go areas that kill your cart. Some are obvious and marked, but I found myself stuck at a crawl in areas I would assume were fair game to be driving in/through. Generally keep to the paths and fairways and enter rough and collateral areas gingerly so as to not find your cart momentum shut down. The gents we played with were pleasant, the service efficient (delayed start not withstanding), and the current playing sequence of the holes is a logical improvement. I always love the opportunity to play OQ and I don't get there often, so I appreciated it and recommend its current condition highly. Thanks to Dave for setting it up.
Sr714/Steve and I played Upland sight unseen for our GK match on 10/24. It's a shorter course topping out a touch over 5500 yds from the blue/back tees, but the yardage is offset by being built into a development with mostly narrow, tree-lined fairways bordered by residences, making directional control more of a premium. Overall conditions were pretty decent. I don't recall any tee box issues as to level and covered, so all good there. The fairways overall had pretty complete but tight coverage. Good rollout and good enough lies, but frequently a little more cushion under the ball would have been nice. The rough was in place and varied from hacking and potential lost ball depth in a few spots to more frequently moderate and playable, but usually green with not a lot of bare areas. Similarly, the run-ups around the green were going to be on the tight side while the surrounding areas were fuller, occasionally to where the ball went deeper and needed to be chopped out. The greens still had light visual indications of last month's aeration but no impact on the roll. Stray marks not withstanding, the greens were nice and rolled somewhere around medium to medium quick. I avoided the bunkers and have no intel on them although most looked OK.

As mentioned, it is a tighter layout, generally straightforward with a handful of water features tucked in. As a matter of fact, by the time you reach 18, there is a feeling of deja vu when it came to par-4s with a pond on the left, three quarters down the fairway. There is a bit of sameness to the holes that can make them less memorable, but pleasant nonetheless. There are four par-5s and I think the par-3 were fun with some variety to them. While there is some soft contour around the course, it is generally more level and very walkable. There is a putting green that you can do a little chipping on but no range currently, so that is definitely something to allow for. Per the pro shop, plans for a warm-up hitting net is in the works. Bottom line, it is basic but pleasant golf. For the drive I have to make to get there, I wouldn't go out of my way. But if circumstances dictated it, I would enjoy playing the course again. If it is reasonably convenient to you, it's worth a look.
Got out Sunday 10/17, 8:50 as a foursome on a cool, still morning and still damp golf course. First time back to Balboa in seven months, which feels about right. Conditions are mixed, for a net rating of just OK. Tee boxes are generally level with coverage and present suitably as launching pads. My impression of the fairways was was 70 to 80% grass lies and the rest thin, bare or browned out. The grass was on the firm and tighter side but presented good lies and a fair bit of rollout. Classic muni condition of generally serviceable and a bit unsightly at times. The rough could be anything from bare, to non-punitive light coverage, to a little fuller and sticky, to occasional grabby and punitive where more grown in — mostly on the thinner or less lush side. Bunkers could have been better raked, but reasonable clean, decent sand. I managed to avoid footprints and found them firmish and playable with most I was in dry and one moist. The green-side areas were more lush for short game and the kikuyu fringes could check up in-coming shots. The greens were in pretty decent shape overall and ran at a medium-on-the-quick-side and I found them enjoyable to play.

Pace was steady and I'm guessing somewhere shy of 4.5 hrs. A beautiful, clear day, it warmed and dried out quickly, starting out windless and developing to a +1 club or more breeze at times towards the end of the round. This is quintessential muni golf — a little under-irrigated overall and less than visually pristine, but it is what it is. Not a destination course to go out of your way for, and the "just OK" rating not withstanding, I had a good time playing it. Sometimes just OK conditions is more than good enough. Good greens also helps. Mostly generous fairways, reasonable length, straightforward with no water hazards or anything tricked up about it, and very good for walking. Perry, Wendy and Tom were excellent company and thanks especially to Perry for reaching out with the open tee time.
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